By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
As humans, we have many weaknesses and shortcomings; but I want to focus on the weakness of the flesh. Our fleshly desires create the thoughts and actions that are sin.
Galatians 5:19-21 (ESV): Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Due to the fact that humans will always have flesh, humans will always have sin. As we read above, sinners will not inherit the kingdom of God; yet Jesus promised humans that He is preparing a place for them in the kingdom.
John 14:2 (NIV): My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
It is without a doubt, we do not deserve the favor God has shown us. With the wages of sin being death, we are not worthy to reside in heaven. We find ourselves fortunate to have a Father who loves us so much He would give us His only begotten Son. It is by putting to death our flesh in the watery grave of baptism that we put on the spirit of Christ. It is a blessing to be a child of God and it is a gift that we could never earn or repay.
2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV): But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
As any child, the best way for us to show our love and appreciation to our Father is by obeying Him. When we obey the words of our Father, He continues to shower us with grace and mercy. That is the reason we work for the Lord with all of our heart; not because we believe it will earn us admission to heaven, but because our love and faith provokes us to action (James 2:18). Like a child purchasing a tie on Father’s Day or coloring a picture on Mother’s Day; their love is so great that they find joy giving to their parents. Just as humorous as the idea that those gifts will settle a child’s debt to his/her parents, it is equally humorous for us to believe we can repay God for the blessings He provides us. Fortunately for all of us, we are not required to repay our debt as God’s Grace is sufficient for us all.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
We often find people explaining trust in layers or levels, with several caveats and disclaimers. These caveats usually have to do with the ability or character of the person. For example, I will not allow my ten year old daughter to babysit her one year old sister; but I am more likely to allow her to babysit her three year old sister. The trust issue is not derived from any malice towards my oldest daughter; it is simply a judgment on her ability to handle a baby versus a toddler. It is important to recognize the reason for my misgivings is of no consequence when determining whether I trust my daughter. That is why God looks for us to trust Him with all of our heart; we do not get to pick or choose what aspects of life we trust Him.
Proverbs 3:5-8 (ESV): Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
The good news is God is so righteous and majestic; we do not have a valid reason not to trust Him. God’s grasp on life, love, and wisdom are more comprehensive than any book or training will provide us in a lifetime. In fact, science is just starting to scratch the surface on the nature that God designed. Look at how the helicopter is designed from a dragonfly or how a submarine mirrors a whale.
Job 39:26-27 (NIV): “Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom and spread its wings toward the south? Does the eagle soar at your command and build its nest on high?
We find in Job 39 several examples of the things we take for granted, yet God did not overlook. Jehovah speaks on the wisdom He imparted on many creatures of the earth. He speaks on the fact they do not have the awareness to understand why they are doing what they are doing (v.17). Due to the fact animals are not aware of themselves on a conscious level; they cannot trust or love God. As humans, we are fortunate because God imparted enough wisdom for us to be aware of Him and ourselves. The choice of whether we will completely trust God is an important one with immense implications. We must humble ourselves and understand we cannot save ourselves, nor can we solve the world’s greatest problem. Trust in the One who loves you so much He gave His only begotten son and do not lean on your own understanding.
Romans 4:20-21 (NKJV): He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
If you grind to better yourself, you understand failure is a part of life. We have to look no further than our lives as children. There was a point in time we did not know how to ride a bicycle. While learning, we fell many times and even contemplated giving up, but we didn’t. With guidance, we were able to learn from our failures and we ultimately achieved our goal.
Proverbs 24:16 (NKJV): For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity.
Consider some of the classes we took while we were growing up. We may have learned addition in the first grade, subtraction in the second grade, multiplication in the third grade, and fractions in the fourth. Each year there was an initial struggle and when we finally understand the process, the school wanted to teach us different mathematics. It is likely we contemplated whether we knew enough arithmetic to forego learning anything else. The sting of struggle and failure can be a deterrent of growth, but God wants us to understand our shortcoming is where His strength prospers.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV): But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
In many instances, unlike children, adults have the ability to choose whether they will endure failure and suffering. Since we have the option to continue, our mind may be focusing on the pain in an effort to determine whether the pain is worth pressing through. Children, understanding the requirement to continue are more likely to accept and learn from the experience. Like our younger selves, we have to disregard the pain and focus on what we can learn from the experience.
Romans 5:3-5 (ESV): More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
In life we need to remain as humble as little children, understanding our wisdom is not greater than our Father’s. In a world full of sin, failure and suffering are guaranteed and should be anticipated. We need to set our minds on the fact it produces character and hope within us. We should find peace in the love that God has poured in our heart; remembering that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Though we understand what God commands and expects of us, we sometimes lean on our own understanding to “help” God. While King, Saul led the Hebrews through several battles against the Philistines. Shortly after a Hebrew victory, the Philistines gathered a large army together for a counter-attack.
1 Samuel 13:5 (NIV): The Philistines assembled to fight Israel, with three thousand chariots, six thousand charioteers, and soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore. They went up and camped at Mikmash, east of Beth Aven.
This struck fear into the Hebrew army, and they started to hide in caves, holes, and pits (v.6). To alleviate the fear, Saul wanted to reassure his troops that God was still with them.
1 Samuel 13:8-9 (NIV): He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering.
There is little doubt that Saul was attempting to do a noble and faithful thing for his troops. But similar to the way life is for a Christian today, Saul must worship God in spirit and truth. Saul was only worshiping in spirit because God had specific commandments on who can and cannot offer Him a sacrifice. In this situation, Samuel was tasked with sacrificing the burnt offerings to God. When Samuel asked Saul; “what have you done” (v.11), Saul tried to explain how his desire was to offer God supplication before the Philistines attacked (v.12). God was swift in his repudiation (no matter the good intention) of Saul’s sacrifice.
1 Samuel 13:13 (NIV): “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time.
Samuel goes on to tell Saul his disobedience to God would cost him his kingdom over Israel. Remember, Saul was only attempting to offer supplication to God before the ensuing battle. Though there are many thoughts and divisions among the churches who love God, we must remember that we do not have the authority to deviate from God’s word. Our disobedience won’t necessarily cost us our kingdom, but it can cost us our place in the kingdom of God. Let us always be faithful to worship God in spirit and truth.